Monday, January 12, 2009

Seattle Times: County May Gain Control Over Locally Generated Tax

Okay, the story had a different title, we all see what we want to see. Buried in the story Huskies May Play 2010 Season in Qwest Field is a meaningful part for KeyArena.

There is a major push, partly through the efforts of the University of Washington's lobbying efforts for a major remodel of Huskie Stadium, to give the authority to the local government to decide the priority for spending the locally collected tax revenue. In this case the Seattle Times story is talking about King County, and the taxing authority going to the King County Council and not have it reside in the state legislature. These funds can only be spent on youth athletic facilities, arts, cultural centers, stadiums, just infrastructure, not for operating expenditures. They have to build with it, in this case, possibly Huskie Stadium.

This is not just some other general fund budget item that could just as well get spent on anything state-wide. This tax is not collected generally and should not get raided to be spent generally.

Do the people on the other side of the state really think I want to pay 2.8% more for french fries so they can take that tax money for a state general obligation in their town? They should tax their own businesses if they want those funds, or not ask for them. If I am dumb enough to tax myself in order to build this stuff I really, really do want the revenue from those taxes to actually build and pay for it, really.

I really thought the Huskie Stadium effort would be the fall guy in trying to get the funds, but still prevent them form being raided and spread all over the state. But they have proved to be a very, very useful entity in promoting a message that increases the understanding within the Washington State legislature, and possibly the general public. King County business carry a greater burdon and that same locality should benefit and control the fund the tax produces.

Why this matters to KeyArena and Sonics fans:
Seattle is in King County. It has a similar tax as the county does drawn from city hotels. It is also requesting local use of locally generated tax revenues. If Huskie supporters are successful in this argument there is a very good chance that what is fair for the county is fair for the city, and KeyArena.
At the very least we have a more popular, powerful, and funded lobby educating people and influencing the legislature to make an effort to understand the position from the tax burdon/benefit position, rather than the very unpopular and dumb argumant about somebody that does not contribute to the tax fund deciding if the county or city deserve a remodeled stadium, or arena, or youth athletic fields.

Even if the argument for Huskie Stadium is not successful, the the question of tax fairness being advanced helps the KeyArena cause, at the same time somebody other than Sonics fans take the hits for asking the state to follow its own law, and not raid the fund, screwing Seattle and King County in the process.

Go Huskies!

Have a great day,
Mr Baker
Sent from my iPhone

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm going to take step back from all of this stuff for awhile. I'm going to the "mixer" at Neumo's on the 23rd to support the effort, talk to some folks and wait....Cuz that's all I can do at this point. And quite frankly I'm tired of the negativity and fatalism. Which I do understand, and sympathize with but if you're going to pop off on SC without doing any research or homework you just sound like an ass. I'm not going to say any names (Patches Pal)but unless any of us can see into the future nobody really knows what the future holds. You are one of the few sane voices in a sea of neurosis on this issue. Although we as basketball fans, and supporters of a vibrant Seattle Center, have every right to be as such. Eventually logic has to prevail. And I'm hanging on to that hope until the legislature adjourns. Peace out.

Mr Baker said...

Good, smart move.
The reality is that I may be wrong about my opinion of where the facts will lead people, but I make an effort to gather facts.
Most of this stuff had been floated at crosscut months ago, and I understand how people can arrive at a given opinion if all they read is PI Sound Offs, and flip comments 2 days into the legislative session.
It us January, still.
Nobody knows anything about how much money they have to work with, and won't until the end of the month.

There were two stories in the news today, I did not blog either, they are not really news, they are like the reports you get right before preseason basketball games, where are the players and what is the situation.
The public expression by the huskies was news, so was their play to put the control into the county council. But there will be very little news that is meaningful in all of the reports that come out over the next few weeks.

Anonymous said...

I think this was worth an early return from my self imposed sabbatical from commenting on blogs:

http://www.thenewstribune.com/front/topstories/story/603503.html

2.8 billion. It may not cover the budget shortfall, but it's something.

MarkS said...

Two billion will go to Medicaid which is one of Chopp's pet programs. Let's see if he keeps his hand off the Convention Center money now.

Mr Baker said...

Obama put his plan out there, a 750 billion dollar "floor" expecting it to rise.
The House went to 850 billion. House GOP have little power and have to run again in 2 years, all they can really do is oppose anything with words.

The Senate has a longer term, view, and can't run again 6 years from now with things still very bad. I expect they will add another 100 billion, part of that in direct operating aid similar to Medicare.

The chairperson of the Senate transportation, housing, and urban development Appropiations committee is . . . Patty Murray

Let's see how high the Senate takes this then we can ask questions about what the state will do.

(you are early)

A second operating gift to the states will have to come next year for lost operating revenue and more worker retraining, my guess is about half of what we see this year.

Mr Baker said...

But, great news, this has to be wrapped up in 10 days.

Mr Baker said...

Also on Friday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus unveiled a Senate version of the tax-cutting portion of the bill. Social Security recipients would get a bonus payment of $300 under the plan. Its tax cuts and spending proposals total $355 billion. It will be paired with $400 billion in further spending proposed by the Appropriations Committee on the Senate floor.


http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2008635506_apobamaeconomy.html

Anonymous said...

RE: Storm lease. I was considering going through the Public of Information act to get a copy of the lease. I knew they would get a sweetheart deal. It's either timing since Licata is no longer the president of the city council that they no longer want to repeat mistakes or the anti-NBA, pro-PC sentiment is so pervasive (well no shit)with yahoos that they see the WNBA good, NBA (NHL) bad. It's sickening, and it needs to be brought to light. I think Art Thiel would find this pretty interesting. The hypocrisy is beyond believable.

Anonymous said...

Uh...make that "Freedom of Information Act" for the lease.

Anonymous said...

Uh...make that "Freedom of Information Act" for the lease.

Anonymous said...

Well I watched the love fest on the Seattle Channel. I find it very interesting and somewhat comical that the Storm, a professional enterprise gets to pay less rent than a non-profit organization for teens. I'm glad to see that the sub-commitee say out-loud numerous times that their 3 to 5 year plan is to dislocate the team and actively look for additional anchor tenants. Prefferbly tenants that are capable of paying rent. As for the businesses of lower Queen Anne, unless the drinking age is lowered to 10 I really don't them breathing a big sigh of relief.

Anonymous said...

Well B, you were right on the amount on the premature estimation of what the state would receive regarding the stimulus. It's going up now its at 4 billion. Here's the link:

http://blogs.thenewstribune.com/politics/2009/01/27/washington_could_get_4_billion_in_stimul

At this rate, California will get at least 9 billion.

Mr Baker said...

4 is pretty high, that should be enough to keep the legislators hands off the hotel tax, we have not gotten the March numbers yet, the extra million helps.

The next 3 weeks is budget cutting time, having the governor's rep get to Chopp new helps. They need as much time as they can get.

I still say we see a second run at stimulus next year half the size of this years, that effects our two year budget cycle.

Anonymous said...

Pretty quiet on all fronts of late. There hasn't been any mention as yet from the Convention Center on parsing of the hotel taxes. Wasn't that immenent? It seems past due.

Mr Baker said...

Shhh, and don't make eye contact with Frank Chopp until the US Senate has a bill, and state appropriations have been agreed to.

I have read 4 or 5 bills that talk around community revitilization, matching funds in the following fiscal year after local funds have been used, not before 2011, matching funds not used will have surplus returned to general fund, but no mention of authorization yet. We are not looking for those matching funds anyway, but that's the nature of the legislation right now.

I do not expect to see anything until Presidents Day.
The convention center folks and husky boosters took some early hits, we all are waiting.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm totally bummed out from the latest assesment from BR...As well as the latest loss by the Huskies to Cal. But getting back to the former topic, there is no escaping this bottomless pit that the economy seems to be sliding down. And even though I want this to happen more than anything I'm almost willing to give the legislature a pass on this one, because congress seems to be screwing this stimulus package up royally (thanks Lindsey Graham R-SC)so it may not even pass in a timely manner. The light at the end of the tunnel is an on-coming train.

P.S. 'Bout time for another eh?

Anonymous said...

RE: P.S.--'Bout time for another thread eh?

Mr Baker said...

I will write something new tomorrow.

I watched Lindsey Graham on CSPAN2 last night fuming on the Senate floor. I thought he was going to cry, he does not think states need direct funding support.
Obama is going to Indiana next week to skip over the senators and ask the redder states if they think that is pork.
Republicans are on the wrong side of this.

Mr Baker said...

So much for SC, Ray Allen, really? I can't participate in even looking at that.
This blog feeds to the Bleacher Report and I do not know if they really know what to do with most of these stories, not that that really matters, but it does kind of show me how detatched I am from sport right now, even here.

In some way this blog may become more like Sonics Deathwatch, but you never know what could rise from the dead around Easter time.

Anonymous said...

Well you should check out the board on the Seattle Times. Most of the threads are pathetic and utterly clueless. And they're on our side for the most part. Including pathologic liar without peer "the Biased One". But I digress. I was (naiively) banking on this stimulus bill to "save the day" as it were but I honestly can't see how much it could help. And I noticed that $40 billion was cut from it that was earmarked for state deficits. I realize that the states and major cities will still get funds anyway but that additional money to fill the deficit would give this effort a lot more traction. I guess when we find out how much the state gets along with potential expansion convention center being passed there may very well be some hope by Easter.

Mr Baker said...

The 40 billion hurt as it was for just about anything the states wanted. The only priority for this state not paid for directly was teacher salary. Elder care, Medicare, SCHIP, roads, public works, school capital investment.

Let's see if when they reconcile both bills that the house does not put back in some of that 40 and target it for some basic service, police/fire, etc, it is just like local politics.

The bigger problem right now is not having a bill in front of Ed Murray.

Mr Baker said...

I meant, those other things were covered except teacher salary.

The governor knew what was coming, she was just estimating at a lower number. I still think the state got much more than her estimation.

We are lucky, without question, poorer and redder states are going to layoff cops and fire fighters, then I think we will see direct aid coming next year or later this year.

King county could use the payment from the new convention center, that would be borrowed moneyand bonded by the state. If that bill was authorized today they could negotiate that price right away (which is less today than it was 6 months ago).